“I thought that we played a courageous game… But I also think we played a bunch of cowards,” she said. “The best team did not win today.” Solo doubled down on the comment moments later, calling Sweden’s performance “very cowardly.”
With the subsequent firestorm of disapproving tweets and reactions in the background, now it’s the turn of Solo’s U.S. teammates to weigh in. Megan Rapinoe joined NBC’s Olympic coverage Thursday, and was asked about Solo’s comments.
“Really disappointed, to be honest” Rapinoe said. “That’s not our team. That’s not what this team has always been. That’s not what this team will be in the future.
“It’s frustrating sometimes as an athlete, you’re thrust into the spotlight, and I think this team has always done a really amazing job of understanding that we have this incredible platform, let’s do something good with it. Let’s inspire, let’s be badass, let’s be fierce, let’s be competitive. But we’re gracious and we’re humble, and we play the game a certain way, whether we win or lose. And we’ve been on the winning side quite a bit, and when we find ourselves on the other side, we need to handle that graciously, and unfortunately that wasn’t the case.”
Other current and former players have also addressed Solo’s words.
Julie Foudy, who now works as an on-air analyst for ESPN, said, “I shook my head. I thought, why is that necessary? There’s a long history and tradition with our national team of respecting others when you lose, so I don’t agree with it at all… To call them cowards for playing a tactically smart game is ridiculous and classless, and it really doesn’t represent the house that we built with the U.S. team.”
Danielle Slaton, a former national team defender, also chimed in, and echoed some of what Foudy and Rapinoe said. “It’s ridiculous,” she said. “It’s not cowardice, it’s discipline. They had a game plan and they stuck to it. I get that she’s frustrated, I get that that’s maybe not the result she wanted, but I disagree with her fully, wholeheartedly. Credit goes to Sweden, and quite frankly, Hope Solo needs to learn how to be a gracious loser.”